CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois was never able to separate against Maryland, their largest lead was only seven points. They ended the second half with a 4-minute stretch without a bucket, which was one of the many reasons costing them the win. Maryland pulled off another upset, defeating Illinois 66-63 for their first loss at the State Farm Center this season.
The Terrapins were able to hang around all game, and their success revolved around the three ball — they were 40 percent from behind the arc, with the last one being the most important — a three from Hakim Hart that gave Maryland the lead which they never gave back.
“We need to make plays to win a game. We had a lot of chances. We missed free throws down the stretch, gave up rebounds, kick out three,” said Dosunmu. “I just think that we didn’t play well enough down the stretch to win this game.”
Darryl Morsell led the Terrapins with a dominant 19 points, with two others in double figures. The Illini were less balanced. In the end, the scoring burden fell too much on the shoulders of Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu. At one point, Dosunmu scored nine straight in the second half.
The two combined for 44 of the teams 63 points, with Cockburn taking just two shots in the second half. Trent Frazier went down with an injury late in the first half, he was able to return but didn’t register a point for the whole game.
“Morsell did what a Senior should do, make every big play,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “They out-fought us and out-toughed us and they deserved to win the game.”
“You know we lost, we have to learn from it, watch a lot of film and the get ready for Nebraska,” said Dosunmu. “That’s how the Big Ten is. We’ll be fine. We just have to lock in a little bit more, and I think we’ll be fine.”
The Illini fall to 5-2 in Big Ten play — one game behind league leaders Michigan. The Illini will head to Nebraska on Wednesday where they hope to get back on track.